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Administrative Division System

China's administrative units are currently based on a three-tier system, dividing the nation into provinces, counties and townships:

The country is divided into provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government;

A province or an autonomous region is subdivided into autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties and cities; 

A county or an autonomous county is subdivided into townships, ethnic townships and towns.

Municipalities directly under the Central Government and large cities are subdivided into districts and counties; autonomous prefectures are subdivided into counties, autonomous counties and cities. Autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties are all ethnic autonomous areas. The Constitution specifically empowers the state to establish special administrative regions when necessary. A special administrative region is a local administrative area directly under the Central Government.

The People's Republic of China has 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 centrally administered municipalities and 2 special administrative regions (see the following table).

China's Provinces, Autonomous Regions, Centrally Administered  Municipalities and Special Administrative Regions
Name Seat of Government  Area(10,000 sq km)     Population* (10,000 persons)
Beijing Municipality Beijing 1.68 1,493

Tianjin Municipality

Tianjin 1.13  1,024
Hebei Province Shijiazhuang  19.00  6,809
Shanxi Province   Taiyuan 15.60  3,335
Inner Mongolia  Autonomous Region Hohhot 119.75  2,384
Liaoning Province Shenyang 14.57  4,217
Jilin Province  Changchun  18.70  2,709
 Heilongjiang Province    Harbin  46.90 3,817
Shanghai Municipality Shanghai 0.62  1,742
Jiangsu Province Nanjing 10.26 7,433
Zhejiang Province   Hangzhou 10.18  4,720
Anhui Province Hefei  13.90 6,461
Fujian Province  Fuzhou  12.00  3,511
Jiangxi Province Nanchang 16.66  4,284
Shandong Province  Jinan 15.30   9,180
Henan Province  Zhengzhou 16.70  9,717
Hubei Province  Wuhan  18.74  6,016
Hunan Province Changsha 21.00 6,698
Guangdong Province   Guangzhou 18.60  8,304
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Nanning 23.77 4,889
Hainan Province  Haikou 3.40   818
Chongqing Municipality Chongqing 8.20  3,122
Sichuan Province   Chengdu 48.80  8,725
Guizhou Province Guiyang 17.00 3,904
Yunnan Province   Kunming 39.40  4,415
Tibet Autonomous  Region Lhasa 127.49  274
Shaanxi Province Xi'an 20.50 3,705
Gansu Province Lanzhou 45.00 2,619
Qinghai Province Xining  72.00 539
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Yinchuan 6.28  588
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Urumqi  165.58  1,963
Hong Kong Special  Administrative Region Hong Kong 0.1103  688 (in mid-2004)
Macao Special Administrative Region Macao  0.0027  46 (in mid-2004)
Taiwan Province   3.60  2,269 (at the end of 2004)

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